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People Needed a Lot of Help Using the Affordable Care Act Exchanges

Remember when President Obama repeatedly promised that using the Affordable Care Act exchanges would be as easy as buying stuff on Amazon or Kayak? Well it didn’t quite work out that way.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, roughly 10.6 million people sought help using the new law via one of several thousand Assister Programs around the country. Getting these people taken care of was also not a quick or easy task. The overwhelmingly majority of Assister Programs said it took, on average, at least an hour to help each client.

The most common reasons people sought help were because they didn’t understand the ACA, needed help understand the plans, and lacked confidence they would be able to apply correctly on their own. Unlike technical problems with the exchange website, these will be persistent issues.

That is not surprising given that most Americans lack the basic health insurance literacy to even begin making a properly informed selection. The survey found that 74 percent of Assister Program clients who considered buying new plans needed help understanding most or almost all basic health insurance terms.

The fact that the logical justification for the ACA design was premised on the idea that regular people would be sophisticated insurance shoppers when that was clearly not going to happen is one of its more fundamental flaws.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at